Broccoli Cheese Casserole

4.0
(6)

Serve over rice or pasta if you want to make this a comforting dinner.

Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
8

Broccoli-cheese casserole is a traditional vegetable side dish that's equally at home on the church potluck table or on the Thanksgiving dinner spread. While some versions use condensed soup as a base, our recipe features a sauce made with whole milk and Cheddar cheese, thickened with a traditional flour-and-butter roux. You can make this recipe ahead of time by preparing it up until the point it goes into the oven, and then refrigerating it until needed.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Courtney West

Ingredients in Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Our recipe for broccoli cheese casserole is in its most traditional form: Start with prepackaged fresh broccoli florets, found in any produce department—you can even steam the broccoli right in the bag!

The sauce is made with whole milk and Cheddar cheese, flavored with onion, garlic, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard.

And finally, buttery crackers make a crunchy and flavorful topping, flecked with fresh parsley for color and flavor.

Other variations of broccoli cheddar casserole include Cheesy Broccoli-Rice Casserole, Lightened-Up Chicken Broccoli Casserole, and Pimento Cheese Chicken-Broccoli Casserole.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole Ingredients
Courtney West

What Kind of Cheese Should You Use in Broccoli Cheese Casserole?

Our recipe calls for shredded sharp Cheddar cheese. This cheese, which can be purchased in block or pre-shredded form, strikes just the right balance of cheesy tanginess.

If you prefer a milder casserole, use regular Cheddar. If you love the sharper flavor, opt for extra-sharp Cheddar. We used traditional orange Cheddar cheese, but white Cheddar works perfectly well, too, though your sauce will turn out paler.

Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?

This recipe calls for fresh broccoli, which will stand up to the longer cooking time of a casserole. But you can substitute the same amount of frozen broccoli. Simply steam the broccoli according to the package directions, and follow the rest of the recipe.

What Crackers to Put on Broccoli Cheese Casserole

The topping of buttery, crunchy crackers is one of the best parts of this casserole. Any butter cracker can be used.

We used Club Crackers, and about a sleeve of them (38-40 crackers) was needed. Ritz Crackers or Trader Joe's Social Snackers would also work well. If you want even more cheese flavor, reach for cheese crackers like Cheez-It.

What to Serve with Broccoli Cheese Casserole

This cheesy, comforting dish is a great side dish with a meaty main course. Try it with roast chicken or chicken breast, pork chops, or, for a meatless meal, grilled portobello mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 2 (32-oz.) pkg. fresh broccoli florets (see Note)

  • ¼ cup water

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 medium onion)

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 large garlic cloves)

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • 1 ½ cups crushed rectangular buttery crackers (about 40; such as Club Original Crackers)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Place broccoli and water in a large microwavable bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, or a microwave-safe lid, vented, and microwave on HIGH until tender, about 8 minutes (see note). Set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed to prevent burning, 1 minute. Sprinkle flour evenly over onion mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and whisk in mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add cheese, and stir until melted and smooth. Add broccoli, and stir to coat.

  3. Transfer the broccoli and cheese mixture to a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch broiler-proof baking dish, and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil, and chill until ready to bake, up to 1 day ahead.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove casserole from refrigerator while oven preheats. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake, covered, until hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

  5. Place remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a medium-size microwavable bowl, and microwave on HIGH until melted, about 15 seconds. Add crackers and parsley, and stir to combine. Remove the aluminum foil from the casserole and sprinkle evenly over casserole. Increase oven temperature to broil on HIGH, and broil casserole until top is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    Broccoli Cheese Casserole
    Courtney West

Tips

To prepare this dish ahead of time, prepare the recipe through step 2. Let the dish cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil and chill until ready to bake, up to 1 day ahead. Before baking, remove the casserole from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake, covered, until hot and bubbly, about 1 hour.

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